Letting their light shine

Domestic violence survivors come together, share stories during vigil at Evart church

EVART  — Tears, hugs and healing could be found Monday evening at the Evart United Methodist Church, where survivors of domestic violence spoke of both their struggles and their triumphs.

As part of the Out of the Darkness, Into the Light vigil, women used poetry, stories and song to detail their experience with domestic abuse.

This was the second year for the event presented, which was presented by Women’s Information Service Inc. as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Teresa Mora, WISE Osceola County domestic violence outreach coordinator, opened the ceremony by talking about the history of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

“The month is a time to mourn those who died as a result of domestic violence, celebrate survivors and connect with those dedicated to ending violence and abuse,” she said.

Stepping to the microphone, Katie Sprague read her poem about how words matter, detailing instances of verbal and physical abuse.

“Words matter,” she concluded, “when you finally take a stand and say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Other survivors also gave their own personal stories, talking about violence at the hands of their husbands, parents, relatives and others. 

Angela Black talked about years of differing types of abuse. She experienced abuse in her marriage, as well as in relationships after her divorce. While injuries sustained by boyfriends sent her to the hospital, she didn’t know what a healthy relationship was, she said.

“I thought it was all part of the dating scene,” Black said. “And then I always thought eventually I would find better. I hid the abuses, wearing long sleeves and lying about bruises.”

After survivors were done speaking, each individual lit a candle, and could say the name of someone lost to domestic violence, honor all who are impacted by abuse or remain silent. The group then proceeded outside for a candlelight ceremony.

Gathered in a circle, their candles lighting up the dark, those in attendance sang “Amazing Grace” and said a prayer. 

“Domestic violence hits our bodies, our souls and our minds, so it takes a group to walk us out of that to become healed and whole,” Mora said. “We share stories to help lift us up.”